This week’s Monday night football will be played at the Selhurst Park, when Neil Warnock’s Crystal Palace play Gus Poyet’s struggling Sunderland side, in a clash between two teams separated by just one point. The home team are finding it hard to get the right results and having just won 2 of their opening 9 games – with 3 draws and 4 losses, it’s been a stop-start season so far and the Eagles will be looking to come out in flying colours on Monday by taking advantage of the poor Sunderland side they will be facing. After a disappointing draw at the Hawthorns last weekend, where Crystal Palace let slip a 2-goal lead to come away with a point conceding a last gasp equalizer, the Eagles will be desperate to make amends at home this week against a side that has shipped 10 goals in their last 2 games.
The Black Cats will travel to South London on the back of a 2-0 home loss to Arsenal, a result that was purely down to individual errors and the manager is expected to make a few key changes to his starting 11 in a bid to turn his side’s fortunes. With the club languishing in one of the relegation spots as a result of two back to back losses, this month is largely seen as the one that will go on to decide the future of the gaffer and a positive result on Monday will be crucial to the resurrection of the Uruguayan and his uncertain future.
Last season when the two sides met at Selhurst Park, the home side emerged victorious with the score 3-1 in favor of Crystal Palace.
Damien Delaney returns from suspension for the home side, with goalkeeper Speroni also available after being withdrawn as a precaution against West Brom. Elsewhere, James McArthur and Scott Dann are expected to be back in contention following their recent knocks (thigh and knee respectively).
Gus Poyet has been boosted by the return of striker Steven Fletcher who limped off against Arsenal. Sebastian Coates, Billy Jones, Emanuele Giaccherini and Ricky Alvarez aren’t available yet. Between the sticks, expect Costel Pantilimon to replace Mannone, whose confidence appears to be on an all-time low after the recent howlers in the last two games. Wes Brown is also expected to be benched after his horrible back-pass against Arsenal that led Alexis Sanchez to walk the ball into the net for the opening goal.
Possible Starting Line-ups
Last Five Meetings
Sunderland 0-0 Palace (PL, Aug 14)
Palace 3-1 Sunderland (PL, Aug 13)
Sunderland 0-0 Palace (Ch, Jan 07)
Palace 1-0 Sunderland (Ch, Dec 06)
Sunderland 2-1 Palace (FAC, Jan 05)
- Crystal Palace have won their last four home games in all competitions against Sunderland.
- Only Robert Green (32) has been forced to make more saves this season than Sunderland’s Vito Mannone (30).
- No side has conceded more goals in the final 15 minutes of PL matches this season than Crystal Palace (5 – level with Everton and Chelsea).
- The Black Cats have won two of their last five league trips to London (3 L), including a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge in April.
Yannick Bolasie – Crystal Palace
Yannick Bolasie has been one of the key players wide areas for Crystal Palace with his trickery and pace combined with the ability to turn on a six pence. In 8 starts, he’s managed to score 1 and create 1, with his best game on a personal level having come last week at the Hawthorns. He will be primed to take his good form into Monday’s home game against a defence that is anything but settled. The 25-year old has created 7 chances so far, though the French midfielder will have to improve his passing accuracy which is under 70% at the moment and keep hold of the ball better than he is doing at the moment. With a shot accuracy of 57%, Bolasie could be the main man in this Neil Warnock’s side that can wreck havoc in the final third and have a positive influence on the game.
Lee Cattermole – Sunderland
If there’s anyone in that Sunderland side that literally works his socks off every game, it has to be their #6 that is Cattermole. Pounding every blade of grass, Lee Cattermole puts a shift in every game he plays, constantly seen running and pressing the opposition when not in possession. He’s put in an average of 3.1 tackles every 90 minutes he’s played and he’s been involved in all of Sunderland’s league ventures so far. 6 defensive actions per game, the midfielder also displays a commendable passing accuracy of 83%. The only downer is his affinity towards reckless tackles and yellow cards, which he often is criticised for. With 4 yellow cards accumulated already, he’s 1 away from a 1-game suspension, something the manager will have warned him about. Nevertheless, if Sunderland are to come away with a positive result, they will have to dominate the proceedings in the middle and it is this man that has to be on his game and over his opposition.
Stats Courtesy – Squawka.com
Wilfried Zaha has looked good so far after his return to his boyhood club, albeit on loan from Manchestser United. Back him here to get an assist on Monday which is priced at a whopping 5.0. Click the link below to create a bet via Tailorbet.
Monday night football is usually dull. God forbid, I can only hope this game proves me wrong. Both sides enter this crucial period in the league needing a win to build a solid platform, meaning the teams could play a bit more cautious. Under 2.5 goals. Home win.